WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, the U.S. Senate voted down the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), a necessary measure to protect women from politically motivated bans and other restrictions on abortion care. Once again, the extremist wing of the Republican Party has put politics over women’s health, telling women their health and safety doesn’t matter.
The WHPA would establish a federal statutory right to access to abortion care—a right that is increasingly under attack in the states. In 2021, states enacted a record 108 new restrictions on abortion, adding to a total of over 1300 restrictions since Roe v. Wade. And it’s been six months since Texas’ S.B.8, which bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy and has ended most abortion access in the state.
States are rushing to pass their own versions of S.B. 8, as well as 15-week bans modeled on the Mississippi law now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which poses a direct challenge to Roe. Once the Supreme Court rules in the Mississippi case, dozens of states are poised to pass laws that will effectively eliminate abortion access for millions of American women.
While the U.S. Senate tonight refused to do what’s right, states are picking up the slack by passing laws to protect abortion access from medically unnecessary and burdensome restrictions that have nothing to do with women’s health, and everything to do with perpetuating the power that mostly male lawmakers want to maintain over women’s bodily autonomy. These restrictions fall most heavily on people with low incomes, people of color, young people, LGBTQIA+ individuals and people in rural communities.
NOW members are working in the states to enact their own versions of the WHPA, and to elect a new, intersectional feminist majority in the U.S. Senate that will finally put women’s health over extremist politics.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.